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Avoid high kernel_task utilization on 2005 PowerBooks System 10.4
Like many 2005 PowerBook owners, I have been frustrated with the apparent bug in Apple's new USB trackpad driver on these machines which forces idle kernel_task utilization upwards of 7% at all times, dramatically reducing battery life, lowering system performance, and preventing the machine from cooling down while relatively idle.

Well, after several months living with this frustrating bug, I was further frustrated to see that there were still no widely-publicized solutions. I decided to stop waiting and try to address the bug myself by simply removing Apple's trackpad driver from the equation.

To my (pleasant) surprise, installing the SideTrack 1.2 trackpad driver fixed the problem completely, driving idle kernel_task utilization down as low as 1%.

While I would rather not have to use SideTrack forever, not only has it improved my battery life and idle temperature, it also definitively demonstrates that, indeed, it is Apple's new 2-finger scrolling trackpad drivers in 10.4 which are to blame. Hopefully now they'll do something about fixing them in 10.4.3.
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Avoid high kernel_task utilization on 2005 PowerBooks | 21 comments | Create New Account
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Avoid high kernel_task utilization on 2005 PowerBooks
Authored by: bdjones on Aug 12, '05 11:48:50AM

Tell Apple...



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Avoid high kernel_task utilization on 2005 PowerBooks
Authored by: TvE on Aug 12, '05 12:46:45PM

No need for that - Apple use telepathy to read their users feedback :-P



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Avoid high kernel_task utilization on 2005 PowerBooks
Authored by: stingerman on Aug 12, '05 02:38:23PM

https://bugreport.apple.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/RadarWeb



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Avoid high kernel_task utilization on 2005 PowerBooks
Authored by: Wetzel on Aug 12, '05 08:20:20PM
If you just need a bit more CPU juice for a while, you can disable the trackpad by running
sudo kextunload /System/Library/Extensions/AppleUSBTopCase.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleUSBTrackpad.kext/
in the terminal -- this is great if you use a USB mouse. Note that every once in a while I have gotten a kernel panic when unloading an extension.

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Avoid high kernel_task utilization on 2005 PowerBooks
Authored by: klatt on Oct 03, '05 06:31:16AM

You can also go into system preferences -> keyboard & mouse then to the "trackpad" tab and click "ignore trackpad when mouse is present"...

I think that does the same thing as unloading it. Not sure....



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Avoid high kernel_task utilization on 2005 PowerBooks
Authored by: JaxMyers on Aug 13, '05 08:20:24AM

Strange, I don't see anything called kernel_task when I look into my active processes using top or Activity Monitor, and I just got a 2005 Powerbook yesterday!



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Avoid high kernel_task utilization on 2005 PowerBooks
Authored by: Aet on Aug 13, '05 10:13:44AM

Are you just viewing "My Processes", or "All Processes" in Activity Monitor?



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Avoid high kernel_task utilization on 2005 PowerBooks
Authored by: vsmith1 on Aug 16, '05 09:21:57AM

kernel_task is process id 0

Vince



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Avoid high kernel_task utilization on 2005 PowerBooks
Authored by: bschmidt on Aug 14, '05 09:29:59PM

thanks for this hint JRK. Not sure if this is a placebo effect, but after installing the replacement SideTrack touchpad driver, my 2005 PBG4/1.67/10.4.2 now reports slightly over 3hr battery life after a full charge, whereas before it was reporting slightly under 3hr.. And Activity Monitor shows kernel_task <3%CPU whereas before it was closer to 10%CPU.

---
...ben



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Avoid high kernel_task utilization on 2005 PowerBooks
Authored by: slokey on Mar 21, '06 07:42:22AM

I also have this problem of high kernel_task CPU usage with my 2005 iBook G4. I installed SideTrack and that didn't fix the problem. My iBook is still hanging up on a regular basis, and the activity monitor (if I can manage to switch over to it) shows the kernel_task at 99%! Any advice?



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Avoid high kernel_task utilization on 2005 PowerBooks
Authored by: hsinha on Aug 15, '05 04:06:40AM

Thanks for this info. I am using Sidetrack for my iBook, but since there were no updates for new Powerbooks when I last looked, I did not install it on my new Powerbook. I prefer Sidetrack scrolling than 2 finger scrolling on the new trackpads. Lower CPU usage and longer battery life is a bonus!



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Avoid high kernel_task utilization on 2005 PowerBooks
Authored by: dashard on Aug 15, '05 07:43:12PM
While I keep my laptop mostly plugged in ( a la regular workstation) I can state that it is running SO much cooler than it always has. It used to get hot to the touch at the palmrest area, but is now simply warm. Anecdotal? Yes. But what a difference it has made in that respect! Thanks.

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Avoid high kernel_task utilization on 2005 PowerBooks
Authored by: Bigcake on Aug 15, '05 09:56:06PM

It's just me or the Security Update 2005-007 seems to have lowered down the kernel_task activity by a 2 or 3%? When idle Activity Monitor reports now an average of 4.5% whle before the update was around 7%



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Avoid high kernel_task utilization on 2005 PowerBooks
Authored by: Zo-1 on Aug 18, '05 05:15:21AM

The update didn't lower my kernel task at all.

But here's the thing: neither did a trial of SideTrack.



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Avoid high kernel_task utilization on 2005 PowerBooks
Authored by: beauhartshorne on Aug 18, '05 06:30:17PM

I was able to confirm the original poster's problem, even after installing the 2005-007 security update. Wetzel's suggestion brings the kernel_task CPU use down to about 0.3% instantly:

sudo kextunload /System/Library/Extensions/AppleUSBTopCase.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleUSBTrackpad.kext/

To get your trackpad back, just run this command (your kernel_task CPU use will go back to about 10% instantly):

sudo kextload /System/Library/Extensions/AppleUSBTopCase.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleUSBTrackpad.kext/

I've submitted a bug with Apple, the ref # is: 4222723.



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Avoid high kernel_task utilization on 2005 PowerBooks
Authored by: janrpeters on Sep 01, '05 07:28:39PM

I submitted this bug to apple and they have given it the status "closed". Does any of you know whether the bug has been resolved?



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Avoid high kernel_task utilization on 2005 PowerBooks
Authored by: cssbz on Oct 27, '05 07:20:32AM
Save your work before you try the above hint, because
sudo kextload /System/Library/Extensions/AppleUSBTopCase.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleUSBTrackpad.kext/
just caused my machine to give a kernel panic. I've tried it again after a reboot, and this time, it succeeded in unloading the extension, and kernel_task CPU usage has gone down correspondingly.

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Avoid high kernel_task utilization on 2005 PowerBooks
Authored by: rssrfrssr on Sep 03, '05 02:56:23PM

Has anyone noticed a high temperate on their machine since installing Sidetrack 1.2.1? I used the MiniCPUHeat widget and it surrently says I am at 115F degrees! Not sure if the widget is wrong or just what? Any other reliable way to check temp on a 15" PB 1.67Ghz?

Thanks.



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Avoid high kernel_task utilization on 2005 PowerBooks
Authored by: Sidd on Oct 31, '05 04:21:26PM

I had this problem ... kernel running at 7.00 percent while system was idle; installing SideTrack brought that down to 0.9 percent.

I just uninstalled SideTrack and then installed the 10.4.3 update. Now kernel utilization is about 2.3 to 2.4 percent.

Since I like the Apple trackpad driver over SideTrack, I guess I'll stick with it rather than reinstalling SideTrack -- even though there is still room for improvement.



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Avoid high kernel_task utilization on 2005 PowerBooks
Authored by: Paetor on Nov 02, '05 03:11:44AM

Could it be that this is fixed in 10.4.3? Kernelprocess seems to have cut down in cpu-usage in 'idle' circumstances quite a bit?



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Avoid high kernel_task utilization on 2005 PowerBooks
Authored by: jacobolus on Jan 05, '06 12:55:46AM

Yes, it's quite a bit lower since 10.4.3. I believe Sidetrack will still bring it down a bit more, but it isn't enough difference for me to care.



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